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Aust's Bapcor bids for Hellaby Holdings

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/09/2016 Paul McBeth

ASX-listed autoparts firm Bapcor has mounted a $322.5 million takeover bid for NZX-listed Hellaby Holdings as it looks to extend its reach into New Zealand's local auto market.

The Preston, Victoria-based company is offering $3.30 a share to take full control of Hellaby, an 8.9 per cent premium to Mondday's closing price of $3.03, and has secured acceptances totalling almost 30 per cent, according to a notice to the stock exchange.

Bapcor wants to delist Hellaby, and plans to sell the equipment, resources and footwear businesses to focus on the automotive segment.

"The proposed acquisition of Hellaby, if successful, will enable Bapcor to enter the New Zealand automotive parts market and use its scale and proven industry expertise to improve the service and range of products offered in New Zealand," Bapcor chief executive Darryl Abotomey said in a statement.

Hellaby has been overhauling its portfolio and investment strategy under new managing director Alan Clarke, who took over the reins last November, to exit non-core businesses and focus on its automotive and resource services units.

Last month the investment firm posted a 30 per cent decline in annual profit to $19.6m, having lowered earnings guidance earlier this year.

Salt Funds, Accident Compensation Corp and the former Hugh Green Holdings, now called Castle Investments, have agreed to sell to the Australian company.

The deal will be funded through debt from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and A$185 million ($NZ194m) of new equity raised through a fully underwritten A$165m institutional placement, and A$20m share purchase plan.

Bapcor said if it doesn't succeed in taking over Hellaby it plans to enter the New Zealand automotive market either organically or through an acquisition.

The ASX-listed company's shares last traded at A$6.16.

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